TV Shows That Explored the Nuances of Friendship Between Black Women

Before Issa and Molly, there was Joan and Toni.

Although Girlfriends premiered over 22 years ago, every viewer—no matter how young you truly were—can still remember where they were when Joan and Toni’s friendship dissolved in heartbreaking fashion right before Toni’s wedding.

But before that moment (and after), we eagerly watched as Joan (Tracee Ellis Ross) and Toni (Jill Marie Jones)—along with Lynn (Persia White) and Maya (Golden Brooks)—took the world by storm as four Black professionals in their early thirties navigating life, love and everything in between.

Girlfriends, which ran for eight seasons until 2008, helped set the tone for representation for Black women on the small screen in the early aughts. However, let’s not forget that shows like A Different World (who didn’t want to be Whitley Gilbert marching around campus at one point?) and Living Single also paved the way for celebrating the nuances of friendship between Black women in the early ‘90s.

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